Love is my favorite thing in the world and learning of God’s love is ever so thrilling. Whenever I think of God’s call, I think of love in its purest form. One that is patient, kind, not envious and is selfless in every form. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. It is forgiving! Never angered to the point of recompense or retribution – no malice, no pretense.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT.
God’s love for us is constant. He leaves behind stories of his love and continuously matches these love confessions with actions; from the gentle words of comfort and hope when we are down, the yearnings in our heart to fellowship, the great and little things he provides us, in the way he shields us in his bosom, and how he remains constantly with us, holding our hands and rooting for us through every step of our spiritual journey. Of Course, the greatest show being the death of his Son Jesus Christ; Our redemption from death, key to life. What love could be greater than anyone laying his life for you, when you do not even know him? It’s not just romantic, it’s crazy! I mean, just think of the depth of it all; abandoning his divinity to pay a price we could have died unable to pay – it’s too good to be true, but it is exactly what he did!
Today, we run through the pages of the world’s greatest story compilation of all time: The Bible.
The first we’d share is that of a young boy and his father (Luke 15: 11-32). We see a father, so loving, working hard enough to provide for every need of his sons. From the clothes on his back, property, even to influence. A son with foolishness at heart, greed filled eyes and without an iota of gratefulness and love, demands that he has fair share of wealth and privilege. He takes these things and lavishes them wastefully without a thought for how much work was put into its acquisition. A slap on his father’s face if you ask me. At the end, this young man finds himself in obvious problems, yet too guilt ridden to understand his father’s love. Thinking to himself how much his father might hate him and be disappointed in what he had done. Entertaining thoughts stemming from a heart that has known not to understand love. How could he rationalize his father’s response? How could he believe that a man he had so badly hurt would run towards him with arms wide open to welcome him with longing embrace? “Surely the greatest show of mercy he can extend to me is to have me serve under his employ. At least then any favor extended would be justified as due wage for labor” he thought.
Sadly, a lot of us find ourselves in these circumstances. Rationalizing suffering as God’s punishment for our wrongs. We condemn ourselves and remain in sin for fear that God cannot forgive our wrongs, questioning the basis of God’s love for us. But we also see something interesting in this story, this father did not care about those resources or how he had wasted them, he was simply interested in seeing his son return.
In this state of self perceived worthlessness, if we open our eyes, we’d see perfect love prevail and we’d feel God’s love overwhelmingly around us, calling us back into his loving arms. Sometimes we are tempted to think, “No one can really love me like this” or “I don’t deserve to be loved like this”, whatever we believe in any case, we must realise that love is of God and so we must not expect people to love us like him – not unless they have learnt from him. Remember what we said love is? It will never judge you or call you names, it is patient and will wait – just like the father and the prodigal son – nothing was more important to the father than the return of his son; Nothing is more important to God than your return to him, enjoying the benefits of his perfect love. He is the true lover
Another story worthy of mention is Hosea the prophet and his wife Gomer (a prostitute) who God chose for him portraying his relationship with the children of Israel. Hosea chapter 1 and 2. A quite alluring one I tell you. It tells the story of us all (just as Gomer who would oftentimes run from her husband’s house to be with other men, prostituting herself as she so often did in the days of her youth, leaving behind the children she had bore without a care in the world), deeply rooted in our wrongs with little or no remorse, in too deep and seems to be beyond redemption. It tells of God’s undying love towards us, chasing and wooing us unto himself for brides. Of how we knowingly stray from him, yet time after time he keeps running after us, paying the redemption price to buy us out of the very hands of death, hands which we’ve grown surprisingly fond of. Offering all of himself with each time we fall, not caring if we would trample on him, all in hope that we might stand taller without shame or guilt and a recognition of how great his love for us is and believing that we would one day grow to requite this oh so perfect love towards him. To love him just as he towards us.
The lessons to take are thus: Dear believer, God loves you with an extravagant love one not dependent on circumstance. Remember that next time you find yourself weighed down by guilt. He wants you to run to him at every slight manifestation of human error. His arms are outstretched, ever ready to break your fall.
“Yes,” He says, “…I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I extended my lovingkindness to you”. Jeremiah 31:3 (KJV, with note interpretation).
Dear non Christian, if you’re reading this you should know that God loves you dearly. He makes this love known through Jesus Christ his son and he calls you to life everlasting. He’s not going to stop chasing you, not as long as you are in this life. It is his intention that you enjoy in fullness every possibility that there is in Christ as a reward of your acceptance of his proposal to love you. Only believe in his name and accept the life that he gives. He’s eagerly calling. And if you feel too dirty or deep in your sins that you don’t deserve forgiveness, remember that your sins are not yet big enough to drive him away, they never will be big enough. If he forgave the thief even at the point of his own death, who was probably a murderer and he being killed innocently still did not hate humans, but forgave them then he would forgive you too. So what do you say?
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